Film Review: Arthur & Mike

Arthur & Mike is very much a case of picking a film on the basis of the trailer and the cast rather than listening, reading or accepting the reviews of critics and public alike. My thought process went like this: trailer doesn’t look too bad, I like Emily Blunt, and while I’m not the biggest fan of Colin Firth, I find him a bit wooden, he doesn’t usually make bad films. However, there is always an exception to the rule and Arthur & Mike is it.

Sadly, I should have listened to the panning reviews that seem to litter the internet before I sat down and watched this. Arthur & Mike is shocking. It’s almost difficult to find a redeeming feature. Part of me doesn’t even know how to start describing to you my feelings and thoughts, simply because there are so many ways into the torrent of problems I have with this film, there is almost too much choice!

Colin Firth - Arthur & Mike

But start I must and where better than with Colin Firth, as I said previously, I’m not his biggest fan, I find him a bit one dimensional and wooden. For me, he often lacks the conviction and emotion in his eyes to convince with the dialogue he is orating. And while that may work in a film like The Railway Man, where that detachment is needed, in this it just doesn’t. Coupling this fundamental flaw to his American “twang” and suddenly things are getting way out of control. You just don’t believe that he could ever be a real person. The idea behind his character, is already a little bit too fictional to be authentic, but when combined with Firth’s completely wrong casting you suddenly have a lead character that destroys the film and means nothing around him stands a chance of surviving either.

Emily Blunt - Arthur & Mike

And the closest character in Firth’s way is Emily Blunt playing Mike, or is it Charlotte, not it’s Mike. She is marginally more acceptable in her role. She brings “neurotic nut job” to life fairly well, but can never escape Firth’s shadow. Her character becomes so entwined and close to Firth’s that sadly her performance is never digestible, because you never accept the two of them would work, or stay together. There are times when honestly, it feels like the rebellious teenage daughter hanging out with her “uncool” Dad, not because she needs him to drive her to the shops, but because she wants to. It just doesn’t happen.

I would love now to say that it’s purely the characters that cause the problems that mean I found this film as poor as I did, and that the situation, the plot, the back story is actually half decent. But I can’t. It’s even more ludicrous than the characters. The forward plot, the events that unfold throughout the film are more and more silly as the film progresses. And when Dad and daughter start up a life of sexual based breaking and entering I very nearly reached for the off button. Truly, the longer you watch this for, the more you’ll start to wonder how on earth writer Becky Johnston thought the pieces all fitted together.

Colin Firth and Emily Blunt - Arthur & Mike

And so, to recap – we have a lead character that just doesn’t work, a side kick who would never stick around in a million years and a series of unfolding events that take what feels like a growing paternal relationship and turns it uncomfortably into a sexual one. But fear not, if we look backwards into events that pre-date the start of the film, the reasons for them arriving on this incongruous path, everything will be explained and it will bring the film back to something nearing the mean level.

What!? There is no back story? Just opened ended questions?

Don’t get me wrong, it tries briefly to explain things, to explain the events that lead up to combining of their lives, but it does it fleetingly, and in an almost apologetic way. You feel more as though it doesn’t want to tell you, but feels it must. It’s like the school child not wanting to stand up and read aloud, so when forced to do so reads their lines at three-hundred-miles-an-hour-never-once-pausing-for-breath just desperate for this terror to end.

I’ve saved the best for last though, because the truly, worse part about this film though is the ending. The way it decides to round things off and conclude its far-fetched tale. All neat and tidy and happy every after. In my head I had an idea where it would go, expecting a twist, a twist that to me, while not undoing the wrongs of its past wouldn’t finish the story on the pathetic note it does; but once again the film chickens out of having the strength needed to create a decent tale. I’m so disappointed because there is a very dark, almost disturbing tale that could have been told if they had wanted to and instead, because they didn’t have the guts to do so, to push the boundaries, they’ve created a weak and silly film that will leave a sour taste in your mouth.

Truly, avoid Arthur & Mike, it’s not good.

4 out of 10 stars (4 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

Comments are closed.